Thursday, July 29, 2010
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE VAUNTED SWINE FLU?
I've posted a bunch of swine flu articles in this daily blog and The Huffington Post, and here are three of them:
1. Benefits of the Swine Flu Scare (27April2009)
2. Cinco de Mayo and the Swine Flu (5May2009)
3. A Pandemic Worse than the Swine Flu (3June2009)
You would guess that I was making fun of the swine flu and be half right. I certainly would not want to get it and I was amused that all forms of government, from the State of Hawaii to the United Nations, way overreacted. But okay, it was a decent educational exercise.
Why was I so cavalier about this feared epidemic? A quote from #3 above:
2. The numbers are embarrassingly obvious. Since the so-called epidemic was announced only a little more than a month ago, we have had about 500 cases and 3 deaths a day. I wouldn't want to be one of those statistics, but consider that a million people daily contract some form of flu and at least a thousand die, every day, usually from complications (heart, pneumonia, etc.). This terrifying swine flu is thus hardly detectable noise. I might further add that traffic fatalities number 3000/day, but we drive on.
Why, then, has the world, epitomized by the World Health Organization (which can best be appreciated if you know the internal workings of the United Nations), gone bonkers over the swine flu? I would like to speculate on the reason. I think it has to do with our political way of life influenced by the world wide web (WWW), as sensitized by the terroristic act of September 11, 2001. Add the palpable need to cover your rear.
To quote from #1:
Thus, my prediction is that government will look good by being so proactive to stop this disease in its tracks. But, then, this would have probably occurred anyway if no one did anything. By responsibly announcing this potential pandemic, Mexico will financially suffer, severely. No wonder China was so "irresponsible" about the avian flu, maybe hoping that it would just go away...which is exactly what happened.
So fifteen months after the first case, flucount.org (which is updated every 4 minutes) reports:
1. There have been from 44,640 to 115,431 swine flu cases in the U.S., with 10,837 deaths.
2. The world had 1,438,880 cases and 14,337 deaths.
3. Yet, in an adjacent table, the total world deaths is listed as 25, 174.
4. The incidence of deaths was 94% in North Korea, 9% in the USA, 2% in Russia, 1% in Indonesia, 0.2% in South Korea and 0.02% in Belgium.
Clearly something is wrong here. With less than 5% of the population, we experienced roughly the deaths from the swine flu? Plus those incidencies are ridiculous. Anyway, the higher count of 25,174 swine flu deaths is about 2.5% of the million or so who died from the standard flu during this same period.
Oh, by the way, the Food and Drug Administration reported that 70 million swine flu shots, worth about half a billion dollars, will need to be scrapped by the end of the year, 43% of the total prepared. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to express caution (as it should) and recommends we all take the H1N1 (swine flu) shot, when it becomes available in September. Let's see, now, is that, then, one or two different injections? Maybe even patches and nasal sprays might be available. Stay tuned.
The Dow Jones Industrials fell 31 to 10,467, while world markets also were mostly down. Gold rose $4/toz to $1168 and crude oil is at $78/barrel.